Checking in on the Oilers Penalty Kill

Recently, I took a look at the Oilers powerplay to see if their goal production with the man advantage was sustainable, or if there were other issues at play here. My key takeaway from that review was that with their current rate of shot production, which ranks well below the league average, their goal scoring is likely to dry up. What was also interesting to me was that when the right-handed players were on the ice, the club did much better generating shots. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them on the team, which is something the team has not yet addressed.

I figured now would also be a good time to check in on the Oilers penalty kill, which ranks 4th in the league with 90.2% efficiency, and allowing 3.54 goals per hour, which has them 4th best in the league. But if we look at the total unblocked shots against, the team ranks well below average, sitting at 79.7 shots per hour, which is the 8th highest in the league. A big reason why the Oilers are doing so well shorthanded has been the stellar play of goaltender Cam Talbot, who has started all but one of the games. The team’s save percentage shorthanded sits at 93.55%, third best in the league. Talbot himself is posting a 94.92 save percentage, second in the league among goalies who have played at least 50 minutes on the penalty kill this season. Coming into the season, Talbot has posted a 90.52% save percentage shorthanded over the course of 113 games split between Edmonton and New York, so it’s likely his current numbers will eventually regress to his average. Worth mentioning here that the 90.52% ranks him second among all goalies over the previous three seasons who have played at least 500 minutes on the penalty kill.

That’s all well and good and we can hope that Talbot maintains his performance. But the team would also be better off limiting those shots against in the first place. Below is the list of forwards and defencemen, ranked by ice time, who have played at least 10 minutes on the penalty kill this season. Included is the player’s ice time and the rate of shot attempts against that happen when they’re on the ice as well their shot attempts relative to their teammates. I’ve also included the ‘relative to teammates’ number to give a sense of how their teammates do with and without them. In this case, a negative number is a good thing.

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Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

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